“The Reports of My ‘Demise’ Have Been Greatly Exaggerated!”

Mark Twain

The title of this post comes from a longer quote by Mark Twain, written in the NEW YORK JOURNAL, on June 2, 1897. Even though it is a misquotation, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, the story behind the quote is somewhat amusing and it also encourages me not to jump to negative conclusions. Mark Twain states something to the effect, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” to correct the mistaken report that he was deathly ill. It was his cousin James Ross Clemens who was seriously ill in London, not Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain). [I wish I could use the same “misquotation” for the RED SOX.]

photo (9)

Mark Twain’s “misquotation” may be easily used to describe my experience with my computer. Well-meaning friends advised me that my computer was old and I needed to buy a new one. This advice was not what I wanted to hear because I didn’t have the money to buy a new computer. Also, even though I have a love-hate relationship with my computer, I am used to how my old computer works and did not like the idea of having to learn how to use a new one. Despite the advice of my friends, I called another friend who is a “computer guy” and asked him if he would look at my computer and see if it could be fixed. It turned out that the “tower” had to be cleaned and it only needed some updating. I was very thankful to the Lord for answering my prayers, as well as the prayers of my friends, and also for my “computer guy” friend. I can almost hear my computer say, “The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated!” [My rubber chicken was happy to see me at my computer again.]   

blame game

This same statement may also be used for my church. As a church body, we have gone through a horrific time of discord and turmoil. Many of my friends, whom I consider family, were leaving the church because of “irreconcilable differences” and disputes about theological viewpoints. This was excruciating painful to experience for me and for others. I did not know what was going to happen to my family in Christ who have been my church family for about forty years. I gave my life to Jesus at this same church at the age of eighteen. After forty years, it looked like my church family was disintegrating right before my eyes. I had the feeling of hopelessness because I forgot the most important truth.

 

a spirit of truth

College Church is not merely my church or anybody else’s. College Church is God’s church. God is the one who is able to help all of us to see our sin, to repent and to be restored, refreshed and renewed in the Holy Spirit.

God is the One who gives us His grace which empowers us to forgive one another and to obey His call to be His disciples and spread His Good News of forgiveness and grace to a needy world. After what seemed like an eternity, on June 14, 2015, God used godly men and women on a Pastoral Search Team and blessed us with a new Senior Pastor. We are all so thankful and filled with gratitude to God for all He has done for us. In our brokenness God has healed us and caused us to grow to be more like Christ. You might say, “The reports of My church’s demise have been greatly exaggerated!” I praise God for His faithfulness to us, His body of Christ in Northampton, Massachusetts. I pray that God will continue to equip and enable us to be His Voice, His Hands and Feet and His Heart to love each other, as well as a world in desperate need of the Love of God.

Realistically speaking, I know that my computer won’t last forever and I will eventually have to buy a new one. Nothing lasts forever. Even the television drama “FOREVER” was cancelled. But, I know what will last forever:

body of Christ

“…and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18b).

forgiveness

Before we as a church were ready for a new Senior Pastor, we had to seek forgiveness for our sin of pride and self-centeredness. We also had to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us. Asking for forgiveness from God and others we have hurt and forgiving those who have hurt us are most important in growing and moving forward. I am very grateful to God for using Jim Van Yperen and Metanoia Ministries to guide College Church through this process of forgiveness and restoration.

Christ's prayer on earth

“If My people [the Church] who are called by My Name humble themselves, and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked [self-seeking] ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land [church]” (II Chronicles 7:14)

In His Grip and By His Grace,

The Lyd

Lydia

[My next blog post will be sometime in July.]

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A Possible Extended Vacation

OOPS! Here’s the correct blog address above [I’m alrteady on vacation!].
– Lydia

lydslookonlife

COMPUTER CRASH

Dear Blog Readers,

My computer is doing strange things, like “freezing” or “shutting down” on its own or the “arrow” disappearing. Before my computer looks like the one above, I’m going to have it looked at by a friend and dear brother in the Lord. I don’t know how long I will be without a computer or if this one can be fixed or if I need to buy a new one.

Be STILL

Normally, computer trouble really stresses me out. But, so far, I am at peace and I am trusting the Lord to provide what I need in His time. Please pray that this peacefulness will continue. Having a computer is like having a car for most people. It is a necessity in order to go places. My computer is my “Voice” as it is a means to communicate with the world and the world to communicate with me.

So…

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A Possible Extended Vacation

COMPUTER CRASH

Dear Blog Readers,

My computer is doing strange things, like “freezing” or “shutting down” on its own or the “arrow” disappearing. Before my computer looks like the one above, I’m going to have it looked at by a friend and dear brother in the Lord. I don’t know how long I will be without a computer or if this one can be fixed or if I need to buy a new one.

Be STILL

Normally, computer trouble really stresses me out. But, so far, I am at peace and I am trusting the Lord to provide what I need in His time. Please pray that this peacefulness will continue. Having a computer is like having a car for most people. It is a necessity in order to go places. My computer is my “Voice” as it is a means to communicate with the world and the world to communicate with me.

So, I may be taking an extended vacation fro blogging, emailing, reading blogs and emails. Please pray that I will use this “vacation” wisely by catching up on my reading, enjoying friends, praying and being quiet before the Lord. To my church family and friends: If anyone needs to reach me, you may call me on the phone.

Also, it will give you, my dear blog readers, the opportunity to read the blog posts you might have missed. Just go to https://lydslookonlife.wordpress.com

Enjoy the Summer!

becket pics4

Peace,

Lydia

A Testimony of God’s Grace (Part II): Check a Few More Off the “Bucket List”

bucket list

This is a secret just between you and me. You may share it with only a few hundred of your closest friends whom you trust. One of the goals on my “Bucket List” is to be the main “speaker” during a Sunday morning worship service at my church. I use the word “speaker” and not “preacher” for the obvious reason: I’m not ordained. Some may be thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding! How can a woman with cerebral palsy and slurred speech ever be the main “speaker” anywhere, let alone in a Sunday morning worship service? Dream on! Who would ever allow it?” Well, to answer the skeptics among us, God has a history of using people who have speech difficulties to speak on His behalf. Just look at Moses who said, “I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” [Exodus 4:10 – JKB], and Isaiah who said, “I am a man of unclean lips” [Isaiah 6:5 – ESV]. God was able to use their weakness to demonstrate His power and glory.

CC Congregation

Also, it takes a church that is open to what God wants to do through them. It takes a church that is inspired by God’s creativity and trusts in the Holy Spirit to step out in faith and try new ways of doing things for the glory of God. It was such and honor, as well as a humbling experience, for me when my family in Christ allowed me to tell “my story,” a testimony of God’s grace in my life twice at my church. The first time I “spoke” it was a thirteen-and-a-half minute testimony given before the sermon. The second time I spoke it was a twenty-five-and-a-half minute “talk” during the time allotted for the sermon. It was so amazing for my church family to be willing to have me “speak” in a very creative way. My sister in the Lord, Betsy Wassmann, who is also on the Worship Development Team at College Church, helped me to condense eleven pages of my story into six pages. [You have been reading the long version from my blog posts during the last several weeks.] Betsy was also going to be my “Voice.” She was going to read my story while I did a bit of a pantomime, using a few visual aids. I needed to be doing something besides just sitting in front of the congregation.

A. Betsy and Lydia

[Notice, I do have a head covering.]

On Sunday May 3, 2015 I told my story of how God brought me out of a deep nine-month depression and back into His Light where I am experiencing the Joy of His Salvation again. This is how the morning went:

baby and mom Connie

I arrived at church early to see where I was going to be sitting up front and where to put my “props” and to pray with the worship team. As I walked into the sanctuary, I saw Christina, with her baby Alisabeth, and Connie going over the special music I wanted to be played at the end of my story. Dr. Don, our Minister of Missions joined them with his violin [You will see him later].

Betsy and Paul

My friend Paul, one of our Elders, who also is Director of Religious Life at Amherst College, introduced Betsy and me. He may not look like the portrait of the Apostle Paul, but his heart is very much like the Apostle.

 

APOSTLE Paul

Betsy did an excellent job at reading my story. It sounded exactly how I would sound if I were reading it. She read my story while I used my visual aids. Doing something helped me to keep my composure during the length of time I was given. I thought I would never be asked to make my writing longer but, since I had the whole “speaking” time, Paul told me to make my presentation five minutes longer and that the Scripture reading for the morning was Lamentations chapter three. I had no trouble making my “talk” longer and Lamentations 3 fit perfectly with what I was sharing, with Betsy’s help.

Betsy and Lydia

When we were finished Christina and the musicians offered a song that has special meaning to me. It’s called, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand,” originally written in 1921 by Myra Brooks Welch. The reason why it holds a special place in my heart is that Myra had severe arthritis and typed out her poem using a typewriter and the eraser ends of pencils, one in each hand. It took her thirty minutes to type out her poem. I type on my computer with my left index finger. Myra’s message is clear: Every life is precious to God and He is the One who makes life worth living.

Dr. Don and Company

The Touch of the Master’s Hand
By Myra Brooks Welch (1921)

T’was battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile; “What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me? A dollar, a dollar; then two! Only
Two? Two dollars, and who’ll make it three? Three dollars, once; three
dollars twice; going for three…”

Dr. Don

But no, from the room, far back, a
gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow. Then, wiping the dust
from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody
pure and sweet as a caroling angel sings

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?” and he held it up with the bow.
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand! And who’ll make
it three? Three thousand, once; three thousand twice; and going and
gone,” said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not
quite understand what changed its worth.” Swift came the reply: “The touch
of the Master’s Hand.”

Christ and leper

And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin,
is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the of violin…
He is “going” once, and “going” twice. He’s going and almost “gone.”
But the Master comes, and ghoulish crowd never can quite understand
the worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought by
the touch of the Master’s Hand.

The Church is the body of Christ on earth. We are His hands, His feet, His voice and His song. Let us love one another with the compassion and mercy of Jesus. Let us love the hurting and bring healing to the world.

A Transforming Vision

“It’s in the body of Christ that I have found my eternal home. I may not fit a particular mold of Christian perfectly, but that is the beauty of the Kingdom of God – none of us quite fits in. It is only by the grace of God that we are able to come to God as one body, across all dividing lines, to live as servants and witnesses of Christ.” – From “A TRANSFORMING VISION: Multiethnic Fellowship in College and in the Church” – Edited by Paul V. Sorrentino [This book is also useful in teaching how we ought to value people who come from all kinds of diversity, able-bodied and disabled included. I highly recommend the book.]

Another goal on my “Bucket List” is to get on YouTube. With a lot of help from my friends Melonie and Pam, both Testimonies I and II are on YouTube. If you would like to see them, go to YouTube and type in SEARCH: Lydia’s Testimony 2015 and Lydia’s Testimony – Part II. 

Hallelujah! Amen! THE END [I’m taking some time off from blogging – a mental health vacation you might say.]

May the Touch of the Master’s Hand be real to you all!

The Lyd

Lydia

Please pray for Dr. Don. He broke his hip and is currently at Spalding Rehab, in Boston.

A Testimony of God’s Grace (Part II): Check One Off the “Bucket List”

a lesson on waiting

It has been approximately 900 *DAYS since my last Electroconvulsive Therapy [ECT] treatment. Looking back, God was the One who decided when I should stop. It was a day in early December [2012] and my nephew Luke took me to the hospital for a 10 a.m. appointment. Normally, the nurses would get me ready and all hooked up and I would be in the surgery room by 11 a.m. Getting my ECT treatment done as soon as possible was a good thing because I had to fast from food and had only a few sips of water to take medications on my ECT mornings. However, this morning I had to wait much longer and was getting more and more anxious by the minute. When they finally wheeled me into the surgery room for the ECT treatment, my blood pressure was dangerously high and the treatment could not be performed. I waited in the recovery area, ate some chocolate pudding and waited for my blood pressure to go down and went home without getting treated. This was a good lesson for me because I learned that waiting really stresses me out. Since I do have to do a lot of waiting for people to do things for me, being stressed out about waiting is not a good thing. Now, when I’m waiting, I ask the Lord to help me to wait and practice my breathing, taking deep breaths, while I pray for His peace and for the person I’m waiting for.

Wing Memorial

I also realized then and there that I didn’t need ECT anymore. Soon after, I learned that Doctor Mujica was no longer going to perform ECT and another doctor was going to take his place. This affirmed my decision to stop ECT treatments. Luke called the hospital to tell them of my decision and they agreed that I did have enough treatments and was doing well enough to stop. However, both the new doctor and the psychiatric nurse told me that they were available for me and to call them at any time. Those were reassuring words to hear. As God answered Jeremiah’s prayer, God also answered mine:

bible duck taped

[My well-used Bible I had with me in the hospital]

“I called on Your Name, O LORD,
from the depths of the pit;
You heard my plea, ‘Do not close
Your ear to my cry for help!’
You came near when I called You;
You said, ’Do not fear!’
You have taken up my cause, O LORD;
You have redeemed my life.”
**- Lamentations 3:55-58

bible Jane's note

[The note I saved from my sister Jane who called when I was sleeping at

Wing Memorial Hospital: “Jane called. She loves you!”]

In the past 900 days, it has been “Lydia being Lydia” again; having friends over for baseball parties [especially World Series with RED SOX] at “Fenway West” [my house] and Super Bowl Parties [hopefully with the Patriots, but no matter which teams plays], food and wine pairing parties and hosting and/or leading Bible studies. I also have been enjoying day trips to my favorite places, eating my sister Jane’s gourmet cooking, as well as dining out. Being active and making a difference in the body of Christ at my church [such as, being on a nominating committee to gather names for elder and deacon positions] has again brought me great joy. All these activities are blessings and privileges I praise God for. I thank God for all the things He has enabled me to do. I don’t take anything for granted anymore. All in all, I am enjoying the life God has given me to live.

blogging2cHRISTIAN BLOGGER WOMAN

But Wait! That’s not all. Writing has always been my voice. God has given me the gift of expressing myself through the written word. You may say that I am a wordsmith, but I could not write one meaningful sentence without the Holy Spirit giving me the words to write. I write to help others get to know who I am inside this disabled [cerebral palsy] body and to encourage them in their walks with God. I have always, as far as I can remember [and that gets shorter every year] wanted to write a book. You might say that writing a book is on my “bucket list. “ That may still happen but, in the meantime, I decided to save a few trees by becoming a “Christian Woman Blogger.” On February 6, 2013, I launched my blog. I began writing about my look on life through the eyes of God’s Word and His Holy Spirit. – thus the name of my blog: lydslookonlife [Lyd’s Look on Life]. One hundred thirty-eight blog posts later, my blog is going strong because God always gives me a lot to say about His goodness, His grace and His faithfulness to me, especially in times of pain and struggle, and how I see His loving care in every little thing, as well as the BIG stuff.

But wait! That’s not all. I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

To be continued…

By His Grace and For His Glory,

The Lyd

Lydia

To my blog “followers” via email: I want to correct the following errors made in my last blog post:

* I omitted the word “days”, as in “900 days.”

** The Scripture I used is from Lamentations 3:55-58 [not Ecclesiastes].